Science and technology have steadily made the world smaller and more manageable, but at the margins there are still haunted places and ancient superstitions that continue to stoke peoples’ fears. Tourists and adventurers of all kinds seeking thrills and photographs often go out of their way to visit these creepy places. Sometimes it is difficult to know if a place has a legitimate basis for its reputation or is merely a marketing tool. The Island of the Dolls in Mexico seems almost made to be a photo-op in a social media driven world. However, the stories about the Gettysburg Battlefield’s haunted hills are taken seriously by many who have visited the historical site.
10. Look Before You Leap
People can’t seem to agree how old Leap Castle in Ireland is, but it has been around at least since the 15th century. This formidable structure is located in Coolderry, County Offaly. Regardless of when it was built it was built over the ruins of an ancient Druid temple that had been used for initiation ceremonies. This has led some to believe that the castle has been under a dark cloud since the very beginning. The powerful O’Bannon clan was to occupy the castle, but before construction even started two brothers were competing to become head of the clan. They challenged each other to leap from the rocks where the castle was to be built with the survivor claiming the prize. Things went from bad to worse, however, when a more powerful clan seized the castle from the O’Bannons then unleashed a series of bloody massacres. This dark tale helped to solidify the castle’s creepy reputation that lingers to this day. Visitors continue to report seeing strange sights within the castle walls that some people believe are the ghosts of the massacred.
9. Go To Hell
Although it seems like some hatchway that leads straight to hell, The Door to Hell has a fairly mundane origin. The door is located on the site of a natural field gas field in Derweze, Turkmenistan. In 1971 a rig collapsed into a crater. Experts recommended setting fire to the crater to burn off the excess gas. But instead of getting a quick fix as they expected they got this conflagration that has burned steadily for more than 40 years. This passageway to the underworld is only 200 feet wide and 70 feet deep, but has inspired a seemingly bottomless interest from a steady stream of visitors. There has been talk for years about shutting down the site because it poses a potential threat to curious tourists who get a little too close to this perpetual flame. There is little doubt that as long as it continues to burn it will continue to attract visitors from around the world. The Door to Hell is located in an uninviting desert that is sparsely populated, but these facts haven’t stopped the adventurous from seeking out one of the creepiest places on earth. People hoping for a dramatic photograph are advised to visit the site after the sun goes down which only adds to the creepy atmosphere.
8. The Loony Bin
There’s nothing funny about madness, but there is something curious about attaching so many dark and ominous qualities to a hospital. In this case the creepy reputation was earned. The Ridges Lunatic Asylum was located in Athens, Ohio and was in operation from 1874 to 1993. The hospital treated a wide range of patients from Civil War veterans to the criminally insane. The hospital’s dark reputation was earned with its controversial lobotomy procedures. This discredited surgery was once believed to be a legitimate treatment for some forms of mental illness, but is now more associated with mad scientists than mental patients. Other discredited treatments the hospital used at different times over its history include ice water dips and shock therapy. These are the kinds of treatments that eventually led to increased scrutiny and much needed reforms in the care given to the mentally ill. Over the years many attempts were made to improve the facility and grounds and improve care for patients. Despite the improvements however, The Ridges Asylum was never able to escape its well deserved creepy reputation that haunts it to this day.
7. Bridge To Nowhere
The Overtoun Bridge is more than a hundred years old and carries travelers to the even older Overtoun House in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland. Although several people have reportedly committed suicide and even been murdered on the bridge this isn’t the really creepy thing about the bridge. Going back at least to the 1950’s a number of dogs have leapt off the bridge to their deaths more than 50 feet below to the rocky ground. The number of dogs that have died in this way could be as high as 600 and these strange events have attracted experts including canine psychologists who have studied the cases. One theory is that the strong odor of mink urine lured the dogs over the side of the bridge to their deaths. At least one local resident countered that there are no mink in the area. Another theory has suggested that perceptual problems confused dogs causing them to go over the side to their fate. Other researchers have attributed supernatural causes long associated with Overtoun Bridge such as it being haunted by White Lady Ghost. None of these theories have been conclusively proven and this bridge remains one of the creepiest places on Earth.
6. Caving In To Fear
Soon after the Bell family moved to Adams, Tennessee to farm in 1804 they started experiencing a string of creepy events. Knocking and gnawing sounds were heard as well as strange looking animals being seen around the property. These events escalated when vocalizations could be heard. The voice apparently identified itself to several people as a witch named Kate and she became known as The Bell’s Witch. People started to come from miles around to witness the strange happenings for themselves. The Bell family continued to be tormented by these events until after several years Mr. Bell died. Some believe this fulfilled the witch’s purpose, but other contend she continued to haunt the area. She is believed be some to have hidden in cave near the Bell family farm. At least one version of the Bell Witch legend reveals that the Bell children encountered the witch in the cave. She warned them that the cave was dangerous and they should stay away. The nearby cave has become an important part of the legend, because although the Bell house no longer exists, the cave is available for daily guided tours.
5. Welcome To Hell
Hell Town is the popular name given to a part of Summit County, Ohio that includes Boston Township and Sagamore Hills. In 1974 The Federal Government designated the much of the area a National Recreation Area. One of the consequences of this change was that many homes were sold off and left vacant for years. To people passing through the area the boarded up houses could easily look like a ghost town. In the years following the decline of the area creepy rumors began to circulate. One of the first legends said the local Boston cemetery was haunted by a ghost. Some of the legends added the detail that the trees in the cemetery move. One of the creepier legends that haunts Hell Town is the story about the children in a school bus who were slaughtered either by a serial killer or an escaped mental patient. There are also various stories about members of a cult wandering in the woods attacking hikers. Some people believe the cultists use some of the local church as cover for their activities. Although there is little hard evidence to back up any of these legends they continue to be circulated and have gained some attention on the Internet.
4. The Island Of Misfit Dolls
In Spanish the Island of Dolls is “La Isla de la Munecas.” This place is plenty creepy in either language. The Island of Dolls is a well known tourist attraction just south of Mexico City. The creepiness began when a man named Don Julian Santana decided to live all alone on the secluded island for 50 years. This man told others that he was haunted by the ghost of a little girl that had supposedly drowned in one of the canals that surround the little island. One of the legends around the dolls is that Don Julian thought he was saving real real children from drowning. He explained to his family that he hung the dolls as a shrine for the memory of the little girl that he did not save. He was obsessed with placing as many dolls as possible and traded fruits and vegetables for them when he ran out of money. Some visitors to the island claim that the hanging dolls whisper to them and can only be quieted with an offering of gifts. In a creepy twist of fate Don Julian’s drowned body was found in 2001 by his family in the very same canal where the little girl died.
3. The Bone Yard
Paris is the capital of France and boasts 12 million bustling citizens who are proud of the architecture, museums and cafes that the city is famous for. But France is also known for what lies beneath the well traveled streets. The Paris catacombs are an extensive network of ancient quarries and tunnels that wind like a maze for several hundred miles. These creepy passages are home to countless bodies with many reduced to just a few bones or a skull. The catacombs began as limestone quarries at the edge of town. When Paris cemeteries became over crowded residents started burying their loved ones in the quarries and caves. Over the course of several hundred years they have grown into the sprawling subterranean grave yard it is today. The catacombs have been a tourist attraction since the late 19th century and has only grown in recent years with the proliferation of camera phones. The curious and the adventurous go underground to try to catch a glimpse of the many ghosts that are believed to haunt the catacombs. A lot of people have claimed they have captured video evidence of ghosts, but the legitimacy of these videos remains in doubt.
2. Forest Of Death
The Aokigahara Forest in Japan is also known as the Sea of Trees. This creepy woodland is located in the foothills of Mount Fuji. The forest has taken hold on top of an ancient lava plain formed more than a thousand years ago. The porous lava soil absorbs sound and creates a quiet and secluded expanse. In Japanese mythology the Aokigahara Forest is believed to be haunted by ghosts. With the help of social media the forest has become known as an infamous spot to commit suicide. In 2003 105 bodies were found in the forest. Hanging and drug overdose are the two most common methods of suicide. Because suicide is so prevalent both local authorities and volunteers regularly search the area for bodies. The local government has posted signs asking people to reconsider their determination to kill themselves and has stopped publishing suicide statistics. Despite this creepy atmosphere, or likely because of it, the forest has become an increasingly popular tourist destination.
1. Field Of Ghosts
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was the site of the most fateful battle of the American Civil War. Between July 1st and July 3rd Union and Confederate forces fought each other in a series of close quarter engagements and left nearly 9000 dead. Today the area is a national historic site and a popular tourist attraction with history and military buffs. But it is also popular with curious thrill seekers who know the battlefield as one of the most prominent paranormal sites in the world. Any battlefield where so many young men fought and died is bound to feel haunted and exude a certain creepiness. But the Gettysburg Battlefield has been consistently associated with countless ghost sightings for decades. The ghosts of fallen soldiers from both sides are believed to haunt the battlefield. In the era of the camera phone many people have captured images they believe to be evidence of these tortured apparitions. Whatever the truth is about this creepy place, ghost hunters consider the Gettysburg Battlefield to be one of the most haunted places in America.